IWC Schaffhausen’s watchmaking masterclass at Mercedes-Benz showroom.
IWC Schaffhausen’s watchmaking masterclass at Mercedes-Benz showroom.
Image: Marvin Sinclair

What do you give a person who has (and can have) everything? And what exactly sets luxury brands apart? These are questions we constantly find ourselves asking at Wanted. Over time, we have come to believe that the secret of success lies in the unique experiences and the story behind each brand. 

Recently, Wanted had the privilege of experiencing such a brand in all its glory – IWC Schaffhausen. Known for their exceptional handcrafted timepieces, the 151-year-old Swiss company has committed itself to producing only the very best. Its six families of watch classes – Pilot’s Watches, Portugieser, Ingenieur, Aquatimer, Da Vinci and Portofino – all honour the long-standing tradition of the Swiss craft. So, naturally, we jumped at the chance to see firsthand how these brilliant watches are made.

There we were, 10 guests donning our IWC jackets at the Mercedes-Benz showroom in Sandton … we had been invited to attend a one-of-a-kind watchmaking masterclass. I had thought we’d simply be shown the tools of the trade, not actually have the opportunity to take one of these beauties apart and put it back together! Tools in hand, and magnifying gadgets fastened, we set to work on a IWC Jones’s movement, guided by uber-skilled watchmaker Kornelius Kurzenburger, flown in from the Swiss headquarters.

Patience and steady hands are the heroes here. The screws, wheels and pivots are tiny and no skin contact can be made with the parts as it undermines their integrity. Tweezers and the buff-brush become your best friends. Considering this, and the fact that each piece is made from the very best materials, with a strong commitment to sustainability, it is no wonder IWC is a leader in the watch industry.


Synthetic rubies are used when setting screws against other
mechanisms as they don’t wear down.

Kurzenburger tended to each of us as we amateurishly tried to fasten the wheels, as we laughed our way through flying screws (Note: there is a special technique to grabbing them with the tweezers – and it is harder than it looks!), and his passion and enthusiasm for the craft shone through.

Movements dismantled and re-assembled, we settled down to enjoy a delicious four-course meal prepared by chef Wandile Mabaso. He, too, is exceptional in his work. So seriously does he take it, each dish was inspired by the craftmanship and heritage of IWC, and perfectly paired with wines introduced to us by The French Wine Guy, Herve Delabesse.

In a world that is dominated by fast trends and technology, this event was a refreshing change of pace. An exclusive luxury that only few will be fortunate enough to experience but that no one should understate. This is what luxury is, this is how IWC sets itself apart, and as a result, I’ve now got my eye on the Da Vinci Automatic 36.

Certificate in hand, we said our goodbyes … Now all that’s left to do is update my Instagram bio: “Digital editor by day, Swiss watchmaker by night.”

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